Wednesday, March 9, 2011

James Hamilton's Execution

'On arriving at Preston, in Lancashire, Lord George Murray had to combat the superstition of the soldiers whom he commanded. The defeat of tbe Duke Hamilton in the great Civil War, with the subsequent misfortune of Brigadier Macintosh in 1715 had given rise to a belief, that Preston was to a Scottish army the fatal point, beyond which they were not to pass. To counteract this superstition, Lord George led a part of his troops across the Ribble bridge, a mile beyond Preston, at which town the Chevalier arrived in the evening. The spell which arrested the progress of the Scottish was thus supposed to be broken, and the road to London was considered as laid open before them.

The people of Preston received Charles Edward with several cheers, which were the first he had heard since entering England; but on officers being appointed to beat up for recruits, no one would enlist. When this was stated to the Prince, he continued, in reply, to assure his followers with unabated confidence, that he would be joined by all his English friends when they advanced as far as Manchester; and Monsieur D'Eguilles, with similar confidence, offered to lay considerable wagers, that the French either had already landed, or would land within a week. Thus, the murmurers were once more reduced to silence.'
 
Duke James Hamilton, remembered above in text from Sir Walter Scott's "Tales of a Grandfather", suffered a terrible defeat at the Battle of Preston.  With odds of nearly 2.5:1 in his favor, Hamilton managed to lose to Oliver Cromwell's forces.  Hamilton is remembered as a weak and ineffective leader.  Hamilton was captured at Preston, tried, and on March 9, 1649, decapitated.

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